Disability discrimination

No duty to consult disabled employee about reasonable adjustments

The EAT held that a tribunal was wrong to find that an employer failed in its duty to make reasonable adjustments by not consulting the employee about what adjustments were needed.

Tarbuck v Sainsbury Supermarkets Ltd
 

Phased return to work unnecessary

This Court of Appeal case is a useful reminder that what amounts to reasonable steps depends on all the circumstances of the case. It held that the Home Office had not failed to make reasonable adjustments when it dismissed C who had been off sick for a long time during her probationary period.

Home Office v Collins
 

Reasonable adjustments and risk assessments

The Court of Appeal has ruled that if an employer has carefully considered medical and occupational health advice in deciding whether an employee who may be medically unfit to do their job can continue in their role, there is no obligation in law for the employer to carry out a ‘formal risk assessment’.

Hay v Surrey County Council
 

Employer had ‘constructive knowledge’ of disability

The employer was found to have discriminated against H on the grounds of disability despite the fact it had no ‘actual’ knowledge of the employee’s disability. H suffered from a psychiatric condition for which she had to take medication. She did not disclose her disability on her Health Declaration form and she refused to allow her employer to contact her doctor.

DWP v Hall
 

Whether impairment ‘likely to recur’

To qualify as ‘disabled’ under the Disability Discrimination Act an employee must have ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. If the impairment has ceased he is not normally disabled. But the position is different if the impairment is ‘likely to recur’ - in that case an employee may still be disabled for DDA purposes and thus able to bring a disability discrimination claim.

Richmond Adult Community College v McDougall
 

Importance of consulting the employee

The employer’s failure to consult the employee about a medical report before deciding to dismiss him was discriminatory under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and it also made the dismissal unfair.

Rothwell v Pelikan Hardcopy Scotland Ltd
 


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